Once we got the confusion straightened out – everything ran really smoothly. My job kept me busy, but not overwhelmed. I was there for the morning and afternoon draws, and left right as the evening draw was starting. I enjoyed it – I really thrive in these kinds of environments – intense, focused efforts with a lot of energy. One thing that was a little hard was that I often felt like my stuff was being sent into a black hole. Everyone gets so busy – it’s not like they’ll say thank you all the time (or even send any reply) and you don’t often know if your stuff is being used or not (sometimes I’ll hear it in the broadcast feed, but as the curling was done both here in Sochi and in Stamford – I never heard what Stamford did because I couldn’t hear their broadcast feed). I didn’t expect thank-yous or responses – but it did make it weird to be working in a backroom, sending a bunch of stuff out, and not really knowing whether it’s useful. My best feedback was that people kept asking me to add others to my email lists and that no one asked to be taken off.
The bear getting fans to cheer at the curling arena:
Once we got deep into the round robin – it was time to start looking at scenarios – what do we know after each draw – who has qualified for playoffs, etc. This is my forte. I thrive on this kind of analysis. I started trying to do it by hand – but I quickly realized that, with so many games left – that this would be really difficult, and, more importantly, unreliable and fraught with error. So I created a matrix way to do scenarios in excel – that allowed me to be methodical and thorough. And then I created a quick win-loss matrix to help communicate the potential outcomes of every draw before the draw happened.
My best moment – I knew (and told my team) that the Great Britain women had qualified before it seemed like anyone else knew. The team didn’t know, the other broadcast teams were only figuring out scenarios at the end of the draw (we knew several hours before the draw) – my proudest moment! It was simple math, but it seemed like no one else had done it.
Then the round robin was done – and we had one tiebreaker on the men’s side and none on the women’s side. It’s funny – you’d think that this would be the time that the games would get to be really exciting. And – the games themselves were awesome – every playoff game was tight and well-played, except for the gold medal match on the men’s side. But for me, it started feeling more like a letdown. I think because there was very little left for me to do – no scenarios to figure out, only one game at a time to watch. But the ending to the tiebreaker game between Great Britain and Norway was something for the memories – David Murdoch made an incredible final shot (runback double) to win the game.
On the non-curling side, we were able to have some additional fun. Again – we got lucky and Mark (the head of the research room) gave me two tickets (one for me and one for Derek) to go and watch Figure Skating (the pairs short program). Our broadcast credentials allow us into any venue – but there are some events that are considered high-demand and require tickets even for media. These include all figure skating, the big hockey games, and the opening and closing ceremonies. So getting into a figure skating event was special. I did catch a curling game at the venue. And on Tuesday (after the tiebreaker was over), I got the rest of the day off – so Derek and I went and watched short-track speedskating and the Russia – Norway men’s hockey game. Totally fun.